Sonata Arctica - Winterheart's Guild
People who so far have dismissed Sonata Artica as yet another band among the rest in the neverending flood of power metal-playing young people in the scene of today have to reconsider their verdict. I think they after this have proven that they are a name to count with when it comes to well played music, and that they succed in delivering quality music to the masses. This is an album that for me already have started, and will continue to grow, as it is not quite as easy and light as the other but instead a tiny bit more complex than before and offers a bit of engagement for the listener to be able to sink in.
Overall it doesn't sound that different from what we all probably expected from Sonata Arctica - there are the mostly really fast, catchy and swirly songs with singalong choruses like the killers Abandoned, Pleased, Brainwashed, Exploited, The Cage, Champagne Bath, and the occasional up/midtempo song like Gravenimage and Silver Tounge to mention a couple. They have managed to produce a massive sound with nice walls of keyboards and choirs, but without them taking overfrom the guitar, but just adding the last bit of what is needed. What I love about Sonata Arctica is that they have such amazing verse- and bridge melodies for vocals, keyboards and guitar, and for you who likes that you are in for a real treat because this album is filled with that, and it's done in one of the best possible ways.
Jani has a real good guitarsound, and I have always like his playing and he is really in shape on this album as well as singer Kakko that really proves that he masters his profession with the honours. The keyboards and the backingvocals are worth mentioning too as ever instrument are a perfect compliment to each other and sounds so full, compact and comlete. Some parts of this album (as well as some on their previous albums) make me practically shiver of lust and just make me want to rewind and rewind the whole night long. They really manage to catch that melody and take advantage of it.
The album that this one comes closest to among those they previously have released I must say is Ecliptica, and for those of you - like me - who have that album in the top 5 of all albums of the 1990's, can imagine what to expect when I say that songs like Champagne Bath and The Cage are one of the best they have released so far. Two ballads out of only 10 songs are too much though, and Sonata Arctica are not among those bands that can pull of such thing, but they don't have to be ashamed over that fact because not many do. They can compose a decent ballad, but that's as far as I will go on that issue.
A very, very good album - Sonata Arctica continue to go from one convincing point to another.